Griffon Forest HN Magazine by Paul Conboy @fatfoodclub
Great Escape from the busy working week – There are some places which can give that feeling of being a ‘world away’. By that I mean having a complete feeling of detachment from the busy working week, looking at your watch and thinking about your next to do list whether it be here or there. Things have of course slowed down in recent months, but it is still more true than ever that people want to get away. It is for this reason we could not have been happier when we were asked to visit Griffon Forest in Flaxton just outside of York.
We were in fact around 10 miles from York and the same again from market towns Pickering and Malton when we pulled onto the long drive at Griffon Forest which leads to a small reception. Here we picked up our keys and welcome pack. We read that we would be staying in the ‘luxury poachers premier lodge’. We were excited by these four words and so with a sense of pace we quickly jumped back into the car and pulled up at our stay for the weekend.
Each lodge has sufficient parking. The forest gives you a complete feeling of detachment from daily life. You almost feel hidden amongst trees. Furthermore, there is a real sense of privacy as no one is ‘overlooking’ your lodge and neither are you ‘on top’ of someone else’s. We stepped out of the car and walked up to the back of the lodge which opens to spacious decking with a BBQ and seating area. As we stepped into the lodge, we were presented with an impressive open plan living area which included a 4-poster bed, jacuzzi spa bath, kitchen space, living area and laundry room. Like the decking, the area inside the lodge was spacious. Having popped the Champagne and eating chocolate which was waiting for us on arrival we ventured back outside through another set of doors from the bedroom to a bubbling hot tub. We had found our ‘world away’ and for the next two days we had agreed to turn our phones off, relax and plan pretty much nothing.
Griffon Forest did everything to keep us safe. The lodges here are spotlessly clean and fully functioning. For example, the kitchen has everything from an oven and microwave to a bottle opener and clean dishcloths. In fact, cleaning packs are provided new and come with soap, washing up liquid, scouring pads and even bin bags. The laundry area has a washer and dryer along with ironing board, mop and bucket meaning there is simply no reason to ever leave the lodge. There is a small reception area to hang coats and leave shoes. The entrance to our lodge was covered meaning even if we were wet there would be a dry space outside to shake off the rain before entering. There is a table and four chairs in the kitchen area and the television is held to the wall on a bracket meaning it can be moved and be seen when being in just about any area of the lodge. The bed itself is comfortable and both nights we slept incredibly well. As well as a jacuzzi bath our lodge came with a large walk in shower and with more than enough towels neatly folded and provided to us so that there would never be any reason to bring extra from home. The living area next our kitchen came with an armchair, double sofa, coffee table and fire.
Despite having a plan free weekend, we decided to first check out the local area around Griffon Forest before venturing a little further afield towards the Malton and Pickering area.
The 1000-acre site at Griffon Forest is relatively flat and walking through the woodland here will never prove too strenuous. Griffon Forest are dog friendly and they even provide day kennels free of charge should you wish to leave your dog during your stay. Throughout the woodland you might come across badgers. Badgers are that common here huts can be found dotted throughout the woodland from which you can view them. If this does not prove a success you can check out channels 410-418 back at your lodge for a live stream of Griffon’s wildlife woodland residents. We were not fortunate to see any Badgers on our visit however we did see lots of their burrows throughout the woodland and we did come across one of the viewing huts.
We headed back to our lodge. We had earlier visited Malton and picked up supplies for a night in. We opened a bottle of wine, cooked food and settled down to a typically easy viewing film being shown on channel 4. It had been a great day and one which felt like we had started to unwind. We were told about Tykes Restaurant however on this visit we did not get chance to visit. Sandburn Hall is situated on the far edge of Griffon and is detached completely from the lodges. It is a short walk away and here you will find a golf course, hotel and restaurant, there is also a barn conversion with room to accommodate a small party and by 2021 a new lake and golfing academy will open too. Tykes Restaurant boasts a menu offering good food supplied by local producers and anyone staying in the lodges are welcome to visit. Tykes also offer pizza as takeaway making an alternative to cooking an easy option.
Beyond Griffon Forest there is lots to see and do. We headed to both Pickering and Malton on the Sunday during our stay. Both are quintessential Yorkshire market towns. Malton particularly is often referred to as the food capital of Yorkshire and if you ever needed a recipe for a proper Yorkshire Pudding then check the huge recipe written in the town square. There are coffee shops and independent butchers, bars and restaurants galore here and a feeling you could easily spend an entire morning or afternoon poking inside the many visitor shops on offer. Market day is a Saturday in Malton. On every second Saturday of the month Malton hosts one of the best food markets in Yorkshire and is probably the reason for its impressive title as Yorkshire’s food capital.
Despite the many things to do it is easy to understand why people would stay around Griffon Forest. We were there two nights and we felt like we wanted to ‘make the most’ of the forest and our lodge given its peace and quiet and the luxury of where we were staying. We had thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Griffon Forest, and this is one we felt we would return to at some point. If you are looking for a short break to get away, then Griffon Forest would make a great escape.
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